Startups encourage more people to travel by train in UK

UK’s train operating company London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has started its cooperation with five innovative startups. They will assist the operator in improving and personalising its services as well as attracting more people to travel by train.

The cooperation with startups is a part of the company’s innovation programme known as LNER FutureLabs. In early May, the train operator carried out a selection from the numerous applicants. As a result, five startups have been chosen to participate in the 10-week programme. They will get access to LNER’s live operational environments and one-to-one mentoring from senior team members as they develop their proof of concepts. “Together, we’re driving innovation and transforming rail travel,” LNER reported. On 9 September, it will organise a Demo Day, where the developed solutions will be presented publicly.

Five startups

“There was a tough competition, but we have selected five startups that will now move onto the next stage of the accelerator programme and to see some of the ideas start to come to life. They certainly have the potential to make a real difference to the lives of our customers, communities and colleagues,” Danny Gonzalez, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at LNER, said. The list of selected startups consists of:

  • QikServe from Edinburgh that will apply its digital self-service technology to help deliver an ‘at seat’ personalised customer experience;
  • Skignz from Middlesbrough that will create a personalised mapping and information experience for customers at and nearby LNER stations;
  • iomob from Barcelona that will implement its technology that supports better mobility in order to attract more people to travel by train;
  • Green City Solutions from Berlin that will improve clean air and healthy spaces for customers as part of LNER’s Responsible Business plan;
  • Sirenum from London that will introduce advanced systems management in the area of LNER’s Responsible Business.

Three challenges

LNER’s innovation programme was launched in order to address three key challenges. The train operating company defined them in the following way:

  • More Journeys, More Often – digital services and solutions that encourage more people to travel by train;
  • Personalised Customer Experience – innovations which can simplify, personalise and enhance the journey of every passenger;
  • Responsible Business Innovation – delivering a railway network that is better for both the natural environment and for our local communities.

“Our ambition is to truly transform rail travel for the benefit of our customers and communities. We’re not just talking about micro-changes that tinker around the edges. We’re looking to take advantage of some of the world’s latest digital and tech developments to improve our service,” Danny Gonzalez added.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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